15 May Is it possible to recruit during uncertain times?
Is it possible to recruit remotely? Should you recruit during the pandemic? Should you use the help of an experienced recruiter? Yes, yes, and YES!
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost all organizations to some extent, and everyone is uncertain about how long this extraordinary situation will last and how massively it will affect the economy. As a precaution to this uncertainty, many companies are holding investments, others are forced to do layoffs (temporary or permanent), and not making any big decisions until there is some more information about the situation.
So how about recruiting? A new recruitment is for sure an investment for the future, so should it be also put on hold until there is better visibility of the future? The main objective of a company in these uncertain times is, of course, to secure the current business in order to even have a company to operate in the future, but if possible, one should not hold recruitments. This is actually a prime opportunity to hire talented people, who might be available due to layoffs in their current companies, or their current projects might be on hold. One of the main reasons candidates are not eager to discuss new opportunities is due to ongoing projects, which they want to finish. Once the projects (or other entities they are working with) are complete, leaving a company is easier, as you have clear results and accomplishments from the current employment.
How should you go forth with recruiting, and is it possible to manage an entire hiring process remotely? Interviews over video are already commonplace in most companies and during the pandemic, and quarantine, conversations over video have reach people who were not so used to it before. Quite often the distance makes it a requirement, but video conferences are also used to save time and work more efficiently, whilst bringing more personality to it compared to an audio only conversation. Most candidate assessments in recruiting are already conducted online, employment contracts are also all digital (and if not in your company, there are many online services providing digital signing), so there are actually quite few steps that are completed offline. Of course, many people tend to think that the chemistry between people and compatibility of a person to a team can only be assessed by meeting face-to-face, but that is when the expertise of an experienced recruiter comes in.
An experienced recruiter brings experience, networks, knowledge, expertise, ownership, efficiency and best practices to the recruitment. Interviews is one part that makes a big difference and having conducted hundreds or thousands of interviews, a recruiter can get the best insight from a person in an interview, something that only experience brings. Even when done purely online over video conferencing. Using video conferencing tools for interviews, can make it slightly harder to read body language and especially if the candidate is not used to being on video, it might take a while to get the “real” image of the candidate in a new or unfamiliar situation. Using the proficiency of a recruiter helps to get the best out of any kind of interview, but more importantly a remote interview, thus minimizing the risks of the recruitment and best avoiding mishires.
When the entire recruitment process is done remotely, communication and candidate experience become even more important. When a recruiter has ownership of the process, they can ensure that the candidate is taken care of and informed on what is going on at all times. Being able to describe the company culture is also difficult, and a skilled recruiter can build the process so that the new candidate gets the best possible view of the company culture, without ever stepping inside the office. The candidate should be given the opportunity to meet future team members online and get the feel of the company as best as it can be provided considering the circumstances.
The most important thing while recruiting in this uncertain time, is to communicate clearly and being open about the situation. If the company is going through a tough time due to the effects of the pandemic, communicate this to the candidate. It is not a barrier to hiring, as long as it is communicated and things such as later start date, part-time contracts, etc. can be a solution.
No one knows how long the uncertainty will last and holding investments for too long can have tremendous effects. The pandemic has shaped strongly the way we work, and hopefully we can learn from this and take all the best practices into regular use in the future, build the new normal. This pandemic is affecting all of us, so let’s try to build the best possible future together!